Most of the time when I write about different elements of job hunting, I am dissecting a small piece of the process and trying to offer you a better way of doing what you are doing or fix something that is broken.
Here, I want to be explicit and tell you the two best ways to look for work . . . other than have an agent or recruiter find the job for you, of course. Actually, that is a mistaken notion. Good recruiters fill positions for their corporate clients and take into consideration the needs, wants and desires of the job hunter, meshing both in their work. They do not work for you; they work for the institution that pays them.
And one thing I know about recruiters is that they have a bias to prefer representing the passive job hunter to the active one. The belief is that the active one is failing where they are or were laid off because they are not as good as the staff person who was retained. Thus technique number one is to be “found” rather than appear to be an active job hunter.
“But, Jeff, I need a job. I need to send my resume out an put it on the job boards to get found, don’t I?”
Well, yes and no. Even on job boards, you can be found by using the blind resume feature where they hide your name and contact information to obscure that you are who you are. I’ll come back to this another time.
The trick to being found is using your network and your social network to support your job search. How good is your LinkedIn profile? Is it keyword rish enough to find you? If you look at job ads for positions like the one you want and are qualified for, would someone looking for those keywords ever find you?
Re-write your LinkedIn profile to make sure of that.
Do you have a website or blog? Recruiters love to do Boolean searches that find people who blog. They think they have found platinum every time they connect with someone that way. What you really have done is put bait out to draw the bee to the honey.
The second way to search for work is networking. More than 75% of positions are filled by networking with others . . . but I don’t mean selfish networking; I mean generous networking. many entworking groups are no more than speed dating meetings. Everyone walks up to the mike and says, I am looking for a job as a such and such or I do such and such. Ugh! The best thing about this approach is that it gives you a place to practice so that when you speak to people in the real world, you are less inhibited.
The best way to network is through volunteerism, attending conferences and putting yourself out there, ideally when you actually have a job.
Nick Corcodillos from “Ask the Headhunter” (Nick publishes a good tip letter every week; go his site to subscribe) printed a wonderful thank you letter this week from a job hunter who wrote about how his suggestions led to him finding the job he wanted in another city by networking with the founder of a trade event. That connection led him to someone, attending another industry event, where he was able to really connect with the person who introduced him to someone who hired him. Read the full story here.
Industry events and conferences are places where you can network with leaders and not just co-workers and put yourself in a position to be recommended for work. Go to trade shows and industry conferences regularly. At worst, you’ll find yourself with a new group of friendsyou nourish the relationship.